Putting Together a Clean Eating Meal Plan
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
How to eat clean
There are some basic principles to stick to when trying to ‘eat clean’. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s relatively easy to plan your meals and follow the diet – here are some things to look out for…
Check the ingredients list and avoid any products that contain ingredients you don’t recognise– you may be surprised to find that many ready-made foods are now created only with produce that you would use in your own home to create a meal.
Think about the packaging – in general terms, the fancier the packaging, the more processed a product is likely to be. Fresh fruit, veg, fish and meat often come with no packaging at all!
Choose organic foods if possible – it can be pricey to buy everything organic so concentrate on the foods you eat most often such as milk, chicken and meat.
With fruit and veg, choose organic produce where you’re most likely to eat the skins such as:
It’s the outside of the food that’s most likely to be affected by pesticides so if you’re going to peel off and discard a thick skin, such as with bananas, avocados and butternut squash, there’s probably little point in buying organic.
Aim to buy British produce when it’s available and make the most of your local butchers, greengrocers and farmer’s market (if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby). Many of the products are likely to have been produced locally cutting down on airmiles and come without loads of packaging, which is an environmental bonus.
Start experimenting in the kitchen – there are literally thousands of combinations you can put together from simple ingredients such as meat, chicken, fish, fruit, veg, potatoes and brown rice.
Create your own low-cal snacks
Stop relying on low-calorie versions of favourite snacks such as lower-fat crisps, cakes, biscuits or chocolate bars – they might be lower in calories but like the full-fat versions, they’re still low in nutrients.
Instead, start having a go at creating your own ‘cleaner’ snacks such as:
- homemade cereal bars (made from oats, nuts and dried fruit)
- plain popcorn
- homemade guacamole
- tzatziki with vegetable crudités
- homemade bread with avocado
- vegetable, lentil or bean soups
- or simply fresh fruit.
Clean eating sample menu
Bowl of porridge made with water and topped with a handful of blueberries, strawberries and spoon of low-fat natural yoghurt.
Piece of fruit and a small handful of unsalted almonds.
Grilled chicken breast with a large salad and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice with a slice of homemade bread made from wholewheat flour.
Bowl of homemade vegetable soup.
Grilled salmon steak with boiled new potatoes and steamed veg. Plus a bowl of fruit salad topped with low-fat natural yoghurt.
To find out what’s in the food you eat, see what nutrients you’re getting and plan daily menu’s try Weight Loss Resources food diary tools. Access the UK’s most comprehensive nutrition database and use the tools free for 24 hrs.